"Continuous grave violations" against children in Nigeria: UN chief

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Since June 2013, attacks in north-eastern Nigeria have resulted in school closures affecting thousands of students, many of whom have had no access to education in months. (file) Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0515/Nesbitt

Grave violations against children by the terrorist group Boko Haram are continuing, with large numbers brutalized, killed and maimed.

That's according to the UN Secretary-General's report on children and armed conflict in the West African country, released on Thursday.

Matthew Wells reports.

The Boko Haram insurgency, which began in 2009, has led to conflict and terror across the whole Lake Chad region.

But it began in north-east Nigeria, where the region's boys and girls have suffered hugely, says the UN chief's first report on children and armed conflict in the country.

It documents the impact on children of the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, between 2013 and December last year.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, says that Boko Haram has inflicted unspeakable horror upon the children of Nigeria's north-east and neighbouring countries.

During the reporting period, attacks by Boko Haram on communities and confrontations between the group and security forces resulted in at least 3,900 children killed and 7,300 more maimed. Suicide attacks became the second leading cause of child casualties, accounting for over one thousand deaths and 2,100 injuries during the reporting period. 

The report makes several recommendations, besides condemning the Boko Haram insurgency in the strongest possible terms.

It urges the Nigerian government to put an end to the recruitment of children by the so-called Civilian Joint Task Force; a group of vigilante militias which sprang up to fight Boko Haram.

It also calls on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that children with alleged associations to armed groups are treated as victims, including 68 boys detained since 2015.

They should be "immediately released and reintegrated," says the report.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'30"

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